Cantor Joshua Kunis joined the Temple Menorah in 2013. He strives to bring to his davening joy, passion, spirituality, and to help bring meaningful tefillah to the entire kehillah, regardless of background.
Singing in the synagogue is simply in his DNA. At an early age, he had the good fortune to be trained by his father, Rabbi Mark Kunis, who was originally a cantor on Long Island for many years. Since the age of 13, he have been leading all parts of the services on Shabbat and the High Holidays, reading Torah, and chanting the Five Megillot. By the time he was 17, he led High Holiday services with a full choir in front of thousands of congregants at Congregation Shearith Israel in Atlanta, GA.
His advanced training continued with intensive study under his grandfather, Cantor Martin Vogel of Los Angeles. An iconic cantorial figure in LA for 35 years, he is a survivor of Auschwitz and sang in the choir in the Great Synagogue of Sighet, Romania.
Chazan Josh also was honored to become close with Cantor Abraham Seif at the end of his life. The grandfather of his wife Chavi, his contribution to the growth of the Miami Beach Jewish community cannot be overstated. He learned many Cantorial pieces from Cantor Seif and intensely studied his nusach.
Since 2000 he has served as Cantor and spiritual leader for many congregations including Children of Israel (Bronx, NY), SelfHelp Community Synagogue (Flushing, NY), Shore Parkway Jewish Center (Brooklyn, NY), and Temple Beth Sholom (Melbourne, FL).
Chazan Josh has degrees in Jewish History from Columbia University and in Jewish Philosophy from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He received his JD from Yeshiva University’s Cardozo School of Law, and spent years of intensive and advanced Jewish studies at Hebrew University and Yeshivat Mevaseret Zion in Jerusalem. During the time he lived in Israel, he was greatly influenced by the song and spirituality of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach (z”l) and his followers, a style he brings to our shul and blends with our traditional melodies.
Previously, Chazan Josh was a writer and editor for the Jerusalem Post and served as Assistant Director of Domestic Policy and Legal Affairs at the American Jewish Committee in New York.
Chazan Josh does so much more for our congregation then lead us in prayer. He run our very popular weekly “Shabbat is Awesome” program for kids every Shabbat, and he teaches Torah to our preschool children, our Hebrew School, and Adult Education classes. He adds spirituality to every holiday at Temple Menorah with programs such as our annual Selichot Concert, Musical Hallel on Hoshana Rabba, Chanukah Lighting and Concert on Lincoln Road, Tu’Bshvat Seder, Pre-Pesach Chametz & Torah Fest, and Lag Ba’omer Kumzitz.
Chazan Josh also serves our Miami Beach Jewish community as the Director of Jewish Life at the Lehrman Community Day School. At Lehrman, Chazan Josh is responsible for all aspects of Jewish life, including teaching Torah and Holidays to children K-5, and he also leads the community Friday morning Shabbat celebration.
Chazan Josh’s wife Chavi Heber was born and raised in Miami Beach and in addition to her grandfather Cantor Abraham Seif, both her parents were lifetime educators at our community’s day schools. Chavi currently teaches our spiritual yoga class every week. Josh & Chavi, and their children Aviella, Aliya, and Kol are engaged and involved in all facets of spiritual life in our congregation.